NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL OFFICE

WORLD READ ALOUD DAY

5 February 2020

In celebration of World Read Aloud Day we joined Akanyang Centre for Teaching, the Royal Bafokeng Institute and Lefaragatlhe Primary School in Phokeng, North West Province for some stories and fun.

INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY

13 September 2019

In celebration of International Literacy Day, the national office of LITASA visited an ECD centre of the Philile Foundation in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Catherine Langsford read the story ‘Oola the Owl who lost her hoot’ by Sarah Phillips to a group of enthusiastic pre-schoolers. Carien Wilsenach spoke to the children about books in different languages, showed the children some books in African languages and explained that LITASA will leave books in isiZulu and Sesotho for them, which they can read with their teachers. LITASA donated story books, a bilingual children’s dictionary, a South African alphabet book as well as literacy games and puzzles to the foundation. Carien and Catherine enjoyed some quality time with the children and teachers, showing them how to use the various games and reading some more books. The morning ended all too soon – it was a privilege to spend some time at the foundation!

PAN-AFRICAN LITERACY FOR ALL CONFERENCE

20 - 22 August 2019

The Pan-African Literacy for All Conference was held in Kampala, Uganda from 20 to 22 August. The theme was Literacy: A Bridge to Equity. The conference centered around issues of gender, inclusion, access to and contextualisation of materials, youth empowerment, parental and community engagement, teacher development, mother tongue language and instruction, and use of ICTs. Delegates learned that equity has many faces and must be considered in a wide range of contexts. Practical responses to our common problems across Africa were called for. It was a well-organised conference with a wide range of presentations from across Africa. The social events were a real highlight. Huge congratulations must go to the Reading Association of Uganda for hosting an excellent conference. Thanks also to ILA and IDC-A for the support they provided. Well done to all the South African presenters - you made us proud. We look forward to seeing everyone again in Zambia in 2021!

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2019

12 - 14 July 2019

The 9th Annual LITASA Conference took place at the University of Cape Town from the 12th to the 14th of July. The conference theme was Masifunde Ditale: Literacy and Language in a Multilingual World. Over the weekend delegates were engaged in presentations and discussions that enriched their understanding of multilingualism. During the opening ceremony, the Conference Chairperson, Catherine Kell, reminded us of the importance of indigenous languages and the value of treating multilingualism as an asset. This sentiment was echoed throughout the conference as speakers highlighted the reality of South African students, the majority of whom are multilingual. It was a pleasure engaging with the youth from Kwafuka Vulindlela Reading Club in a panel discussion, during which the learners spoke about the importance of knowing how to read in both English and isiXhosa. This allowed conference delegates to put a face to some of the issues that were to be explored throughout the conference. Presenters discussed the importance of their research and explored a variety of topics ranging from translation, to the development of cognitive linguistic skills, to the production and use of materials in the indigenous languages of South Africa. Delegates were able to engage with current research and could relate it back to their own work. Workshops were held that explored different aspects of multilingualism and brought to life the work that is being done both through research and within classrooms and other learning sights. Our keynote speakers, Leketi Makalela and Brian Ramadiro, allowed us to think deeply about multilingual literacy education in a rapidly changing world and futures of literacy in African languages, respectively. The conference was an enriching experience that offered delegates the opportunity to connect with one another and engage in a meaningful way.

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